Billionaire Warren Buffet says that in a down economy your best asset is you. Funny, the same is true when the economy is up. Here are 10 ways to make personal branding work for you in any economy.
- Think value. How can you create value for your company and the people you serve?
- Narrow your focus. Being known as a subject matter expert will get you known more quickly and more widely. What skill or talent do others come to you for? Are you a great strategist or innovative thinker? Are you adept at creating high performance teams? Find your signature strength and exploit it.
- “Brand” everything you do. Whether it’s a presentation, a report or a product, stamp it with your touch, your unique point of difference.
- Invest in education. Developing and honing your skills keeps you on top of your game. How are you investing in your development? Are you reading business publications? Do you attend conferences that will deepen your learning? Identify ways that you can enrich and build your skills.
- Step it up. Think about ways to exceed your client’s expectations. How can you add more value or “raise the bar” on your projects?
- Make it about them. Your personal brand is more powerful when built on the success you create for those around you. Being a servant leader not only benefits your employees and customers but can benefit your bottom-line as well. Theodore Roosevelt once said, “No one cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.”
- Seek the wisdom and counsel of others. Hire a coach or seek a mentor to help you build a respected personal brand. Ask others to give you objective feedback about your unique gifts and characteristics of your brand. Often others will see characteristics that you may overlook or underplay. “A wise man will hear and increase in learning, and a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel.” (Proverbs 1:5)
- Differentiate. What is it about you that stands out in a crowd, whether on paper or in person? If your peers were to use one word to describe you, what would that be? While blending in with others may provide comfort, standing out will help others remember what you have to offer.
- Keep in touch. Build a wide network of industry and personal contacts. Many people believe that networking is about collecting business cards and sending an obligatory email. Nurturing your networks require that you actually build a relationship. In order to cultivate a meaningful relationship, you will need to invest time to see the relationship grow. You should consider how much time and mental energy you are willing to invest in the relationship. Many long time mentoring relationships, business leads, referrals and promotions have blossomed from a networking relationship. A networking connection should be beneficial to both parties. Are you adding value to the relationship or just “taking” what the other party has to offer? Are you networking effectively?
- Think of yourself as a business. Everything you do is an expression of your brand. Your speech, image, clothing, performance and strengths all contribute to your brand. You should be intentional in building and promoting your brand. What value do you offer to your clients or company? Do your actions and image reflect the brand you want to portray? Make the time to create your own “brand plan”.
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Author’s content used with permission